UZ student Natasha Gamuchirai Chari was arrested on drugs charges

LEAD calls for leniency to students caught pushing drugs

By Griffiths Ncube, HourlyHits Reporter

The opposition LEAD youth wing says the recent raid of drug dealers in tertiary institutions by police is commendable, but authorities must prefer non-harsh sentences for the students who were caught in the crossfire as they might be victims of poverty or peer pressure.

Methamphetamine is an addictive stimulant that affects the central nervous system. Also known as meth, crank, blue, ice, and crystal, it has longer-lasting and harmful effects on the central nervous system, and death.

Police last week arrested University of Zimbabwe (UZ) student Natasha Gamuchirai Chari (23), her friend Gertrude Glenara (21) and one Kudakwashe Charles Mapara (25) after they were corners dealing in dangerous drugs in Harare CBD.

After a high-speed chase, police also recovered the dangerous crystal methamphetamine worth Z$1.7 million (about US$15,000) that the trio were allegedly pushing.

In a statement, chairperson of the LEAD youth wing, Nkosilathi Muchangwarira, said it was possible that the tertiary students were being taken advantage of by drug cartels and it is those cartels who must be exposed and apprehended.

“It is a pity that the girl child has been going through terrible and inhuman practices and there is need for proper action.

“We advocate for girls not to be used as smuggling tools in tertiary institutions as a result of hardships or their social statuses,” said Muchangwarira.

“Those women or girls who were caught may be just victims of the whole process. There is need for non-harsh punishments (such as) rehabilitation processes and programmes that will help these girls psychologically.”

He added that police must intensify raids and clear learning institutions of the scourge of drugs.

“(We) applaud the ZRP for ensuring that our streets are safe from drugs.They have proved their validity through enforcing the law. We further encourage them to continue with more raids and searches for suspects and work closely with the public students, students unions and set up a secret report booth on university campuses and all tertiary institutions.

“Some view young women as tools that they can use practically for their shady deals. A lot needs to be done to do away with the vice of drug dealing as some fall victims of such circumstances.

“This may be as a result of poverty and senseless peer pressure,” he said. “No stones should be left unturned as we would like to seriously venture into programmes and campaigns that will expose these people with vicious acts.”

Although crystal methamphetamine death statistics are difficult to come by in Zimbabwe, methamphetamine overdose deaths in the United States increased nearly 500 percent from 2012 to 2018, according to the American Medical Associations Network. □

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